Policy Platform 2020
AIA seeks meaningful policies that commit to building an equitable future economy, developing climate action and zero carbon practices, and investing in healthy, sustainable communities at the federal, state, and local levels.
Building a healthy America
American architecture stands as a testament to our unique place in the world. Our architects work at the leading edge of a $1T construction industry that promotes commerce and drives consumer confidence. Architects have always dared to reach higher and set new standards. Our next architectural achievements will be measured by how well they respond to a post-pandemic world, eradicate inequity, fuel economic recovery, eliminate carbon emissions, and nurture individual and community health.
Now is the time for urgent and decisive action on these issues. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) represents more than 98,000 architecture professionals. We step forward to address the needs of our economy, climate, and communities. We seek support for the crushing student debt of our members; support for disadvantaged businesses; and real progress to end the systemic racism that has existed for centuries and continues to grip our nation. We seek meaningful policies and commit to better buildings that will sustain a healthy country.
Explore AIA’s policy platform for the 2020 presidential term—the basis of our advocacy team’s work at the federal, state, and local levels.
Policy platform initiatives
In a spirit of cooperation, we challenge others to join us in support of the following initiatives.
When business thrives, America thrives. Architecture firms lead a $1T building construction industry that catalyzes private investment. Most of these firms meet the federal government’s definition of small business. The administration’s tax policies should support small business, innovation, and talent recruitment. AIA commits to voicing strong support for a future economy that advances the success of architecture firms and the profession.
Prioritize job creation and equitable access to opportunities
Increase STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture, and Math) investment and student debt relief to strengthen diverse and inclusive talent pathways into the profession.
Strengthen workforce training for new, sustainable building technology and practices.
Strengthen the inclusion of businesses owned and operated by historically underrepresented communities including women and racially and ethnically diverse business owners.
Develop a Civil Service Corps option for graduates.
Leverage private investment
Utilize tax incentives to spark resilient, sustainable, and equitable development.
Invest in low-income housing tax credits.
Recommit to historic preservation tax credits.
Adopt business-friendly tax policies
Prioritize favorable tax policies for small businesses.
Provide research and development tax credits and research funding.
Human activity is warming our climate to dangerous levels and carbon from buildings is a primary culprit. Buildings must consume less energy, use only renewable sources, and contribute power back to the energy grid. AIA is taking action to eliminate all building carbon emissions by 2040.
Provide American leadership
• Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
• Promote science-based environmental regulation and research.
• Provide federal leadership on climate and cross-departmental integration.
• Actively address the disproportionate impact of climate change and environmental degradation on communities of color.
Transform energy use
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency in buildings.
• Promote renewable energy and embrace building electrification.
• Create federal incentives for the adoption of net zero carbon energy codes.
Commit to zero carbon practices
• Reduce embodied carbon and encourage carbon-smart materials.
• Renovate, adapt, and preserve existing buildings.
• Preserve historic structures.
• Fund robust federal investment in green infrastructure.
In towns and cities across the country, deep inequities exist that prevent access to safe and healthy buildings for many Americans. We as a nation must act to provide shelter—a basic human need. AIA commits to a future built environment that improves individual health and prepares communities to weather a variety of storms.
Invest in housing & infrastructure
• Catalyze accessible and affordable housing.
• Promote toxin-free living.
• Confront the legacy of discriminatory zoning and housing policies on communities, including Black, Indigenous, and other populations who have been historically marginalized with deleterious economic disinvestment.
• House those who are experiencing homelessness and provide related supportive services.
• Promote equitable development, including mass transit-oriented development, multimodal streets, and reformed Opportunity Zones.
Reinvest in America’s public places
• Fund best practices for school design to promote healthy, safe learning environments.
• Provide federal funding to support health care surge capacity.
• Invest in community and civic infrastructure.
• Strengthen our resilience.
• Improve building resilience and adaptation to allow populations to shelter-in-place.
• Integrate buildings into the grid to promote energy resilience.
• Fund flood and risk mapping and prioritize resilient land-use policies.
• Strengthen water and air quality policy.
AIA is the voice of architecture to legislators at the federal, state, and local levels. Use AIA tools and resources to develop your skills as an advocate for architects.
Related economic policy & platform articles
In an op-ed published by Real Clear Energy, AIA President Jane Frederick outlines the architecture profession’s policy priorities, underscoring the indispensable role of architects in tackling the climate crisis and addressing racial injustice.
While a near-term recovery is front and center in AIA advocacy efforts, AIA is also advancing an economic policy platform that focuses on the future.
In its climate platform for 2020, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) calls for its members to lead the industry in sustainable practices.
At the top of AIA's priority list is addressing the nation's housing crisis and need for new connected infrastructure.